Commencement 2019

Honorary Degree Recipients

Philip Stoltzfus
Chief Executive Officer
Thayer Brook Partners LLP

Commencement Exercises - Byblos campus
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. 

Building on his grandfather’s – the late William Stoltzfus – legacy and devotion to the university, Philip Stoltzfus has served 13 years, from 2004 to 2018, on LAU’s Board of International Advisors (BIA) and later the Board of Trustees (BOT), chairing both boards for one and two years respectively.
Stoltzfus once said: “Everything we do on the board is oriented toward the students, to make their experiences here and opportunities later as great as possible. We believe that LAU is a university for life,” – which certainly proved true for the Stoltzfus family.
His grandfather’s 21-year tenure from 1937 to 1958 as President of the American Junior College for Women (AJCW) – as LAU was known back then – saw some of the most active years of the institution’s history, during which it underwent major expansion.
Philip Stoltzfus is CEO of Thayer Brook, a London-based investment management and research company operating and developing systematic trading strategies, which he founded in October 2005. From 1993 to 2005, he headed up Mizuho Bank’s London-based proprietary trading group. He has developed innovative quantitative portfolio methodologies which have been applied to equity, commodity, foreign exchange and energy markets, and include the creation of the Standard and Poor Systematic Global Macro Index. He graduated from Princeton University in 1979.

H.E. Raya Haffar El Hassan
Minister of Interior and Municipalities
Republic of Lebanon

Commencement Exercises - Beirut campus
Friday, June 14, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. 

H.E. Raya El Hassan’s career has been a series of remarkable achievements distinguished by notable “firsts” as a woman in key ministerial positions. She was the first female in the Arab world to assume the post of Minister of Finance (2009-2011), during which she contributed to mitigating the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on Lebanon and strived, in conjunction with the monetary authorities to adopt a prudent macroeconomic policy.
In January this year, she became once again the “first” female Minister of Interior to be appointed in the Arab World and has already made great strides in implementing laws related to domestic violence, traffic safety, unlawful gunfire and the protection of the environment.
She has a track record of continued service to her country. Since 2013, she has served as member of the board of directors of Bank Med, Méditerranée Investment Bank, and Saudi Lebanese Bank.  She also serves on the advisory committees of the Rafik Hariri University-Business School and the Beirut Arab University-Northern Branch. Previously, as a senior member of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, she oversaw several UN, World Bank and EU public-sector reform projects, related to Lebanon.
El-Hassan holds an MBA degree in Finance and Investments from George Washington University and a BA in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut.

Mike Ahmar
Executive Chairman of the Board
Partners Bank of California

Commencement Exercises - Beirut campus
Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. 

As a member of LAU’s BIA (2008- 2011), and of the BOT from 2012 until 2018 when he assumed the post of vice chairman for one year, Mohamed (Mike) Ahmar worked toward increasing contributions to the university by highlighting its reputable academic programs and has been instrumental in building LAU’s endowment.
A great believer in giving back, Mike Ahmar established the Ahmar Family Foundation with his wife Hania in 1999, a nonprofit organization that supports educational and charitable projects. He sits on several boards, locally and in the US. He is Treasurer and member of the executive committee of the American Task Force for Lebanon in Washington DC, Co-Chairman of The Lebanese American Foundation (House of Lebanon), a member of Friends of the Lebanese Academy of Science, a member of the board of USC’s Marshall School of Business and a member of the board of counselors of Chapman University.
Ahmar is president of Ahmar Investment Inc., a real estate development company in California, as well as founder and executive chairman of the board at Partners Bank of California.
He founded ICG in 1985, a leading specialty distributor of desktop displays, and spent 21 years building the company from the ground up. As a result of his leadership, ICG has twice been listed as one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies in the US.
Ahmar holds a BS in Electronics Engineering from Northrop University and an MS in Electrical Engineering from San Jose State University.